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Pub known for live music slammed with noise complaints; owner now facing criminal charges

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BATON ROUGE - Happy's Irish Pub is one of several bars you'll find along 3rd Street downtown. The bar is known for its live music performances on weekend nights, but the owner is facing charges after noise complaints poured in.

"I think most people were wanting to see it shut down a little earlier. That's where the biggest disagreement came in," said Scott Wilfong, Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board member and former chairman.

That live music has allegedly been disturbing people staying next door at the Watermark Hotel, as well as people who share a backyard with the bar.

"The general manager testified he had given a number of comp rooms and discounted rooms due to the noise," Wilfong said, "Quite an ordeal, but the board heard it and decided there wasn't a violation at that time."

After receiving six noise complaints, the ABC Board discussed the bar during a meeting but decided it wasn't violating any city ordinances.

"They need to tighten up the laws so that it is black and white, that we use decibel meters, that there is a measurable objective standard for us to look at before we impose penalties," Wilfong said.

Now, the bar owner has to go in front of a judge and is facing hundreds of dollars in fines.

"Noise violations can be criminal if they're written by city police, or they can be civil, which is the ABC board," Wilfong said.

A court date has been set for March.

Happy's opened in 2005, while the hotel and apartment building opened years later.

Both Happy's and the Watermark Hotel declined to comment.

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